Sunday, September 5, 2010

TWD: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

If it looks like an egregious use of vacation photos, it probably is one.

Here we are on July 31, enjoying our 5th wedding anniversary on the beautiful East End of St. John, USVI. In this photo, we are 20 nights into a glorious stay that included visits from a few really good friends. Hi Gina! Hi Lynne and John!

All I know is that moment was so sweet and fun and true I don't care that the camera was much too close and the sun is making my chin look weird. It was THAT good. And the past 5 years have been pretty fantastic, too.

Now, the cookies. The are incredibly decadent and delicious, but not photogenic. If you don't believe me, check out the brave posts of my Dorie Baking pals and see 'em. They are square, if you're lucky, and brownish little ugly ducklings.

Shortbread is a tough gig. A few days ago, when it actually WAS Tuesday and 100 degrees, it would have been impossible to pull off. Today fall was in the air and I had a chance at success.
For cookies, organic, cultured butter gives you an edge. With shortbread and sables, however, it's how you handle the ingredients that really counts. If you beat too much air into the dough, the cookies will puff and flop in a dramatic comment on the baker's lack of finesse. The butter and sugar get a quick whirl (yea, that's a baking term), all the flour goes in at once and then it's into the fridge for a good, long chill. That's not including your Star Ingredients, of course.

Baking is all about what you would do next time. For this recipe, I'd chop the chocolate a bit more. I'm really intrigued by the oatmeal spice version, too, because I gravitate toward those flavors at this time of the year. Most of all, I'd get them out of the house right away so my afternoon run would have some beneficial effect.

A big Dorie thank you to all the bakers for having me back after such a long absence, and to Donna of Life's Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First for the motivation to get back with the gang.

And finally, to my sweet husband, for eating the burnt and funny looking cookies, coaching me through the rough patches, and loving me so much.